Contemporary World Crises, Philosophy, Global Outlook
We, Ashwani Kumar and Nayha Acharya, are excited and honoured to share the conference proceedings of the J. Krishnamurti and the Contemporary World Crises International Online Conference. The conference took place at the end of February 2021. It was free for anyone to attend. In our introduction we share how the conference was conceptualized, why J. Krishnamurti is a relevant focus in today’s world, how the conference unfolded, and how attendees responded to this conference.
I, Ashwani Kumar, have spent much of my academic journey studying, applying, teaching, and engaging in dialogues about J. Krishnamurti’s insights into human consciousness and education. Early 2020 brought with it a tremendous shaking up of human consciousness with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement that seemed to have ignited the entire world. These occurrences shone a spotlight on so many of our individual and collective issues including our fears, anxieties, mental illnesses, racial violence and prejudice, vaccine nationalism, and even our over- commitment to productivity resulting in personal, societal, and environmental detriment. Noticing all this, I was struck by the value that J. Krishnamurti’s ideas can have in the contemporary world. I envisioned an intercultural and inter-disciplinary dialogue that would enable an exchange of ideas on the relevance of J. Krishnamurti’s insights from various angles and perspectives. I discussed this idea with Nayha Acharya, who had recently begun incorporating J. Krishnamurti’s themes of human consciousness and conflict in her law school teaching and her research on conflict resolution. She was excited at the idea of being involved in such a rich gathering, so a collaboration between the two of us began.
We were awarded the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute’s Program Development Grant to organize an online conference exploring the work of J. Krishnamurti and its relevance for contemporary world crises. The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute’s vision is to strengthen ties between India and Canada and to facilitate ongoing connections between scholars, students, and other interested parties in the two countries. This grant provided us with the exciting opportunity to bring together Indian and Canadian scholars, practitioners, teachers, and students with a common interest in J. Krishnamurti’s work to learn from one another, build lasting connections, and explore our collective problems and possible responses. In this endeavour, we had the excellent assistance of two PhD students, Bonnie Petersen and James Caron, from Mount Saint Vincent University, and one Law student, Michal Jeszka, from Dalhousie University. The event could not have come together without their hard work, dedication, and commitment.
The goals and purpose of the conference are discussed in more detail below, but in summary, the conference featured twenty-two speakers from a range of disciplines including psychology, law, religious studies, philosophy, and education. The speakers engaged in panel discussions and question/answer sessions with attendees in six two-hour sessions throughout the two weekends of the conference. There were over 370 registrants. Every daily session resulted in rich expressions of the panellists’ personal, scholarly, and professional journeys with the work of J. Krishnamurti, and engaging dialogues with attendees. It brought together a vast number of like-minded individuals, resulting in a cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary community of people concerned with societal and individual betterment, and who have seen how the wisdom of J. Krishnamurti may further those goals in their own unique contexts.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Ashcan Kumar & Nayha Acharya, "J. Krishnamurti and the Contemporary World Crises: Introduction to the Conference Proceedings" (2021) 10:1 Other Education 95.